YOUNG WORLD

What is in a name?

SUSHEELA RAGHAVAN

For a while Meenu could not remember who she was or what her name was. Then suddenly, she heard Pran, the catfish,…and her memory came back!

Meenu, the little sparrow, was sleeping in her nest that was built by her mother on a ledge of a house. Her brother and sisters were chattering. Their mother had gone to get them worms for lunch.

Meenu dreamt that she had become big and stretched her wings and thought she would fly. She turned to fly and lo! A thud! Meenu was lying on the floor, she was stunned. Then she saw two big eyes peering at her.

She got scared and squeaked, “Who are you? Who am I? What is my name?” Tikku, the little mouse was surprised and said, “I do not know, but I know you are not a mouse like me.”

Meenu, was confused and with her small wings, she flew to the windowsill. There, Snowy, the little white pup, thought Meenu was a plaything and tried to pull her tiny tail. Meenu shook herself and flew down to the garden's flowerbed.

There, Nina, the beautiful butterfly, greeted her. “Hey, you sweetie, where are you coming from?”

Meenu replied, “I do not know. I do not know who I am. I think I am different from you, though you also have hands (wings) like me.”

The butterfly fluttered her wings and replied. “You are a baby bird.”

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“Oh! Then what is my name?” Nina blinked and shook her head.

Meenu went hopping in the grass, she found a small thing crawling on the grass. Curious like all babies, she nudged the thing with her beak. Suddenly the thing slipped into her mouth. Lo! Behold, she swallowed it.

“Boy, this is tasty, just like what mum gives me!” thought Meenu. Yet she was unhappy, and hopping she neared the lily pond. There she saw some beautiful coloured creatures swimming.

Meenu peeped, then she jumped, “There is another one like me peering from this place.” She called out, “Hey! Who are you? Come out. You look like me. Tell me my name.”

She could see the other one also opening her beak and saying something, but she could not hear. There was a rustling sound. She saw a tiny creature coming up to see who she was talking to. Then she heard the booming voice of Pran, the catfish, calling the little one. “Zoom! Be careful, it is a sparrow looking into the pond. It will swallow you. Come back. Come back.”

When Meenu heard her name, she jumped, rolled and flew with joy. “Athri bacha, now I remember my name. I am Meenu, the sparrow, tra la la!”

Meenu was surprised to see that she could fly. She tried hard and flew. She found herself back in the nest. She found her brothers and sisters were also as big as her.



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